Rex “Wrecks” Bell, who played Bass behind Townes Van Zandt and Lightnin’ Hopkins, runs the tiny but excellent Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe in Galveston (Rex ran the Old Quarter that Townes recorded in from 1966-1973, closing it some 17 years before I could drink). Now he wants to sell his own brand of beer, but Starbucks Coffee Corporation doesn’t like his brand name.
Now I may not be a typical consumer, but I could be a pretty typical patron of Rex’s. While he does have a stage at the Old Quarter and a PA, it’s easy to confuse it with a small drum riser. He likes the music and the two bands I’ve been with who went there had a good experience. Just not much for me to do there as the engineer. So mostly I got to sit and yak with Rex and listen to my friends play and try not to drink too much of what Rex poured. Hard to imagine a better gig for an engineer, really.
Beer! Oh, yes, Beer. Star Bock Beer. The name makes Starbucks Coffee Corporation’s caffeinated law corps deeply agitated. Someone might confuse Star Bock Beer with their brewed product. Could be, but really, Old Quarter patrons are more likely to confuse it with Lone Star Beer or Shiner Bock. This is partly because patrons are much more likely to be fans of inexpensive regional beers than expensive national coffee brands and partly because Rex named the brew by combining the names of his two most popular beers.
I dunno, I’m not buying real consumer confusion, but Starbucks has much bigger lawyers than The Old Quarter and these are not cases that the little guy frequently wins. However, Rex is a cantankerous old coot and may prevail on attitude alone.
If you’re in South East Texas and you want to hear good acoustic music, Rex’s Old Quarter is a good spot to go. Try the beer, whatever it ends up being named. And talk to a guy who has been a part of some of the best Texas blues ever made, too.
In any case, how can you take a company seriously that’s named after Dirk “Face” Benedict?